The Angolan Supreme Court (TS) has ordered the preventive seizure of the assets of businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, valued at $1 billion (941 million euros), 100% of the shares of Imbalvidro, where the defendant is the beneficial owner.
According to the ruling that Agência Lusa had access to on Tuesday, the Criminal Chamber of TS indicates that the forfeiture also covers all bank balances of named or jointly owned current deposits, domiciled in all banking institutions, including time deposit accounts, and other accounts Finance. Associated applications or stock files on behalf of Isabel dos Santos.
The Angolan Supreme Court order, dated December 19, 2022, indicates that among the assets indicated to have been seized, there is 70% of the shares in UPSTAR Comunicação stating that “the defendant is the de facto beneficiary”.
In MSTAR SA, a telecommunications company in Mozambique, 70% of the shares of businesswoman Isabel dos Santos, daughter of former Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who died last August in Spain, must be confiscated.
The order, signed by Judge Daniel Modesto Geralds, notes that the preventive confiscation of said assets is subject to Angolan law and Article 31 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
The court also sets for forfeiture 100% of Unitel T+ in Cape Verde and Unitel STP SARL in Sao Tome and Principe where the defendant is the beneficial owner and 100% of the shares in Unitel International Holding BV and Unitel International BV where Isabel dos Santos is also considered an active beneficiary.
TS argues that this action arises because there are “strong indications” that the businesswoman has obtained “illicit advantages” to form the aforementioned companies with funds from the Angolan state.
In the long letter, the Angolan Supreme Court listed 69 reasons to justify its decision to set the estimated global value of the arrest at US$1,000,000,000.00.
Documents from the Angolan state oil company Sonangol and Unitel, rogatory letters from the Netherlands and Portugal and data processing resulting from the financial analysis conducted by the National Asset Recovery Service (SENRA) of the Angolan Prosecutor General’s Office (PGR) are the “fact-referencing process elements” attributed to business woman.
“In the current records, there are indications of the crime of embezzlement, influence peddling, economic participation in business and money laundering, provided for and punishable by Angolan law,” the letter reads.
The decision notes that until recently, Unitel SA, a company nationalized by the Angolan state last November, was owned by four shareholders who each own 25% of the share capital of the company and that Mercury-Mstelcom SA is a subsidiary of Sonangol.
It indicates that Vidatel Lda, incorporated on 12/14/1999, based in the British Virgin Islands, Isabel dos Santos and Geni SA have beneficial owners, and its beneficial owner is Angolan General Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento “Dino”.
In December 2019, the Angolan judiciary seized the shares of Unitel SA owned by Vidatel, and in January 2020 Sonangol acquired the shares of Unitel SA belonging to PT Ventures SPGS, a company under Portuguese law owned until January 2020 by Africatel Holdings. .
The shares of Vidatel and Geni were seized, highlighting the order of the Supreme Court of Angola, indicating that the investment in the creation of Unitel SA is exclusively owned by Sonangol and became a partner through its subsidiary Mercury.
“And concluding that since the initial investment belongs to Sonangol, the company’s revenues (dividends) should also belong to the state and not be handed over as they have been, for years, to Geni and Vidatel,” he argues.
According to the order, given the proximity of positions with Genie and Mercury, whose representative was the former Angolan Vice President, Manuel Vicente, as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Angolan operating company, between 2001 and 2012, and given the impossibility of the intervention of PT Ventures, Isabel dos Santos “dominated Unitel SA, enabling it to funnel millions of euros from Unitel SA to its affiliated entities.”
“Isabel dos Santos has also transferred amounts from Unitel SA to the entity Unitel International Holdings BV, a company based in the Netherlands, incorporated on 05/04/2012 and controlled by Isabel dos Santos herself, its sole effective beneficiary.”
In fact, between May 8, 2012 and August 28, 2013, the note states that seven financing agreements were concluded between Unitel SA and Unitel International Holdings BV, through which the former lent the total amount of €322,979,711.00 and €43,000,000.00 dollars, amounts that the beneficiary company “undertook to reimburse within a period of 10 years.”
These loans, “in which Isabel dos Santos signed the aforementioned financing agreements and at the same time acted as legal representative of both companies,” allowed Unitel International Holdings BV to acquire shares or create companies in the telecommunications sector in Portugal, Cape Verde (Unitel T + ) and Sao Tome and Principe (Unitel STP, SARL).
Regarding the reasons for preventive detention and the requirements for applying the asset security measure, the top Angolan official notes that in the above factual description, “the crime benefits identified so far appear to be $1 billion, which corresponds to the value of the sums unlawfully seized by the defendants.”
In addition to this amount, damages of $1,136,996,825.65 were determined in other criminal proceedings, the order adds.
The Supreme Court of Angola also decides that the Board of Directors of the aforementioned companies shall be appointed as the custodian of the shares of the suspended companies, with the exception of Embalvidro – Indústria.
As trustee of Embalvidro, the Institute of Asset Management and State Participation (IGAPE) is appointed, Daniel Modesto Giraldes identifies case judge and Angolan TS counsel.
This was the second arrest of Isabel dos Santos’ assets after the decree issued by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in 2019.
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